With or Without Trump – Paris Agreement Drives World Climate Response

November 7, 2017

San Jose Mercury News:

As the world’s nations gather in Bonn, Germany, this week for the latest round of United Nations climate talks, the official U.S. delegation will struggle to represent our country in the wake of President Trump’s announcement in June that he intends to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.

But a new, unofficial U.S. coalition will also be on hand at the talks. “We Are Still In” is a 2,500-member alliance of strong American voices from businesses, state and local governments, and universities committed to meeting our greenhouse gas reduction targets. They will host a U.S. Climate Action Center in Bonn that will assure the world that many U.S. institutions still support the Paris agreement.

The alliance will share the impressive progress now under way in many parts of the country to build a clean-energy economy. The strengthening movement in America to address climate change, rather than deny it as the Trump administration would have us do, is leading to dramatic shifts toward using renewable power such as wind and solar. Meanwhile, China and India are working on timetables to ban internal combustion engines, leading California to consider doing the same. GM and Ford are embracing electric vehicles as cheaper battery technology makes the cars more affordable, and growing networks of electric chargers offer convenience and reliability.

Some of the best examples of climate progress are coming from California. In July, Gov. Jerry Brown signed bipartisan legislation extending the state’s cap-and-trade program to 2030. This market-based system — together with California’s renewables portfolio standard — is on track to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Pollution reductions have been achieved in California even as the state’s population and economy continue to grow.

Facebook reported in 2016 that 43 percent of its energy mix, mostly used to power its data centers, came from clean and renewable energy sources. Through Project Sunroof, Google has mapped more than 43 million rooftops in the United States, thus giving homeowners an easy tool to evaluate their house’s suitability for solar panels. Tesla’s assembly line in Fremont has started to produce the new Model 3 electric vehicle. The advanced technology and mid-range price for the car attracted 455,000 orders before anyone could test-drive it.

Much of the nation’s progress on reducing our carbon emissions to date has been thanks to smart regulatory planning. Now, in the absence of federal support for wise, science-based policy on climate, we must encourage more companies, cities, and states to join the “We Are Still In” coalition. We all have more power than we may realize to influence our community leaders and businesses to take action on climate. Let’s use it.

UPDATE: Below, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown explains the goals of two executive orders she signed on Nov. 6, 2017, mandating Green building standards and Electric vehicle goals.


4 Responses to “With or Without Trump – Paris Agreement Drives World Climate Response”

  1. Jerry Falwel Says:

    Moonbeam, the California governor had the state oil and gas department do a survey for free of his ranch in northern California for oil and gas potential. Nobody else in the state could do that which shows you something about the real character of the governor.

  2. @Jerry Falwel

    please…. do spare us your pathetic blabbering.

  3. Words, just words. No matter our political affiliation, our place in the social hierarchy, or the location of our habitation (for those of us who live or participate in the industrialized world); as long as 99.99999…% of us persist in having our cake and eating it too, we will continue on the trajectory that we have long ago embarked upon.

    This quote from John Michael Greer sums things up nicely…

    “Straight across the spectrum from the supposedly radical left to the supposedly radical right, every political party, power center, and pressure group in the industrial world rejects all of the options that might actually help, and embraces one or another minor variation on the policies that got us here in the first place.

    “Nor, it probably has to be said, are they ramming these dysfunctional policies down the throats of a restive populace. No, the people are clamoring for exactly those policies that guarantee them and their descendants a shorter, harsher, and more impoverished existence on a planet in chaos. What’s more, as the signs of industrial civilization’s terminal crisis build around us—as the planetary climate spins further and further into unexplored and dangerous territory, as infrastructure and economies crack under pressures they were never designed to bear, as the once-vital institutions of representative democracy hang limp as autumn scarecrows against a darkening sky—the only responses that most people are willing to consider amount to doubling down on the very mistakes that brought about the crisis.”
    ~~John Michael Greer

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      ” the people are clamoring for exactly those policies that guarantee them and their descendants a shorter, harsher, and more impoverished existence on a planet in chaos.”

      I think the vast majority of the polling I have seen says something quite different. Solid majorities from both sides of the aisle want rational policies that will solve global warming, even if it costs everyone more money. People want to have a livable planet for their grand kids.

      It is the Republican politicians and the craven corporatists who empower them – a very few but powerful people – who are murdering humanity in slow motion.

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